Father Of Invention

On The Drawing Board

Mason's list of successful inventions is impressive, but this inventor has far from exhausted his creativity. He has several promising inventions that are expected to make their debuts soon.

For example, he has invented and patented the ultimate fruit bowl. Wouldn't it be great if you could put fruit in a bowl and not have it spoil in a few days? When that thought crossed Mason's mind, he solved the problem by designing a bowl set on a pedestal with strategic ridges and air holes.

Another of Mason's ideas addresses the problem caused when liquid cleaning products make your grocery sacks heavy. Why not package these products in concentrated form so consumers can mix water with the concentrate when they're ready to use them? With the help of his team at Simco, Mason invented a container that holds the concentrate on one side, and has an opening on the other side that allows you to easily add water. The sprayer at the top instantly mixes the two ingredients in the proper proportion. All consumers have to do is fill the empty chamber with water, then spray as usual.

But Mason's grand passion is the tallow tree. Several years ago, he realized that the Chinese tallow tree might offer a solution to our nation's need for cleaner-burning fuel. The liquid from the tallow tree's seeds can be used as diesel engine fuel without being refined. The smoke from an engine burning tallow seed extract is white and replaces the odor of diesel fumes with the smell of cooking honey. The outside of the tallow seeds can be used as a substitute for edible fats such as cocoa butter; the oil can be used in manufacturing plastic; and the leftover solids can be compressed and fed to cattle. "It's like the pig. You use everything," says Mason.

Mason believes enough tallow trees could be grown on marginal land in Hawaii and other states to replace at least 5 percent of the petroleum used in the United States--at the same cost as diesel fuel. Hawaii stands to benefit from this plan as well. In the past few years, the Aloha State has seen its sugar cane and pineapple crops transplanted to countries where labor is cheaper. Mason hopes the tallow tree will return valuable lost agricultural dollars to Hawaii.

Although Mason has clearly been successful, he hasn't always been financially independent. Many of his ideas were developed long before he quit his day job. He received a salary; the company retained the patents.

His first personal commercial success came when he and his wife developed a line of microwave cookware. Known as Masonware, it was the first line of microwave-safe cookware and cooking utensils. It sold in thousands of stores and made him financially independent.

With so many successes under his belt, what motivates Mason today? He enjoys working on his ideas and those of others at his custom-designed conference table at Simco, and his biggest joy is still the same: seeing an idea materialize into something useful.

Contact Source

Stanley Mason, (203) 227-0041, smason05@snet.net

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Father Of Invention.

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